Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes!

Last Monday we closed on the lovely property pictured here. We are now in a position of having secured the ground for our future whilst awaiting the selling of the home we have lovingly restored from old Plantation times to its present incarnation. It’s been so much fun, and yes, a lot of work! We never planned on leaving it, so we made it our own, tropical gardens and all. You can view it here.

Still, we might have known better. Living wide open necessitates a willingness to shift and grow, both inwardly but also occasionally outwardly, at least for us. So back we go to where we lived many years ago. The high desert of New Mexico is singularly unique. And we look forward to the variety of topography and wildlife we remember from that time, as well as different opportunities for us both. Aloha for now!

photo credit for all images: Laurie Hilton; last image: Alexander Berlonghi

Embracing the Magic

Aloha, dear people:

Sorry for my scattered check-ins and the cessation of my own WP posts, I do value this WP community. A few months ago, the Universe tapped me on the shoulder and it precipitated some major life changes that we are in the  midst of just now.

If you’re wondering what your own future holds in 2020 and beyond, despite Eckhart Tolle’s caveat to remain in the moment (and many of us practice this on a daily basis),  I will pass on a keyword that may or may not resonate with you. That word is alignment. To my inner knowing, more and more we are being called into aligment, and many of us are discovering this requires a physical, geographical relocation. Such is the case with us.

Thus for the past three months, give or take, we have diligently placed our noses to the grindstone and finished a long-awaited addition to our house in preparation to sell it and move on. (The link just highlighted will take you to the listing. Please share if you are so moved, and mahalo!)

We have greatly enjoyed 15 years on this island, and have been blessed with a fabulous community. Still, Chris has been working far too hard and we look forward to balance and a more sustainable lifestyle. I hope to get back into radio and professional writing, as well. And not to be minimized, the move will take us nearer to our girls. Fifteen years is a long time to rarely see adult children. So here we are.

Stay tuned for more news, once we finalize things on the other end. And here’s wishing you all a peaceful New Year. Remember the “A” word, and you can’t venture far from life with heart and soul. Blessings, Bela

Glimpse

Shards of light splinter azure skies piercing grey
and white veils hung over days we have grown
accustomed to, days drowned in deluges of drenching
rain once sent to nourish, now stripping shrubs
and flowers of nutrients washed deep asunder;

One tree standing stark and brittle, cut
down in last week’s pruning while others thrive,
throwing verdant foliage out as springtime winds
casually whirl them down to boggy soil, carpeted
now with thick mulch meant to soak up excess
in anticipation of summer heat yet to come,
as it will, eventually;

Changing climate brings to mind old plantation
days, hard labor cutting cane, hacking through
jungle-thick mountain forests, knee-deep in mud,
to construct miles of irrigation ditches, flumes
and sluiceways now used recreationally, history
fading for all but a few lingering elders
whose scattered memories find their niche
in the rolling wheel of apocryphal time.

All photos ©Bela Johnson

Gaps

The compulsion when an overtaxed
mind, yearning to occupy another’s
rendering of reality twists, knife-like,
between the blades, sabotaging
the creative process, stifling
the necessary tension held
between opposites, that fractional
moment before the water droplet
falls and spreads into the infinite,
protracted in time which in itself
is illusion;

There’s not a thing silence won’t
cure, spreading thin, square
of sweet Irish butter in the warming
pan or rolling thick, lava flowing
over parched earth, a conductor’s
arms bringing down the footlights
at concert’s end;

The ache of pulsing atoms
to ears unfamiliar with its quality
can be deafening, feeling anything
but soothing, instead a thing
to be shunned, avoided as though
life itself could be extinguished
in its company; yet even lacking
familiarity, it occupies the interstices
wedged between the chaos
of everyday living, dwelling in
gaps of glimpsed awareness;

In the beginning and end, it is
to the silence we return, din to
be relinquished in favor
of expansiveness beyond
the mind’s grasping.

 

One exquisite journey off the grid and into the silence is 4-wheel driving up Parker Ranch’s  Mana Road. We passed no humans for the hour plus that it takes to get to the top where there is a long forest hike. Heaven. Oh, we did see some creatures  though 😉

all photos ©Bela Johnson

Of Hearts and Stones

Small stones cobbled the backyard
of the San Gabriel Mountains foothill home
where I grew up, dappled by the light
of pergola and wisteria overhead, flanking
cascading waterfalls and the fishpond
my father built outside my parents’
bedroom window;

Yet it was giant granite boulders larger
than fishing shacks which grounded me
to the woods and waters of eastern Maine,
region of choice for a street-weary soul,
igneous wonders cleaved from glaciers
that covered most of New England
if not all, long before human memory;

Planting anything in that rocky terrain took
fortitude and persistence, pickaxe and shovel
and plenty of insect repellent, for winter
spread ice and snow into drifts and created
crystalline topsoil, while early springtime’s
mud prevented solid progress; thus it was bug-
riddled May before the earth was clear
and pliable enough for groundbreaking;

Still, steadfastness and a rototiller tamed
the garden enough to hoe up, row by row,
a large area in which to raise vegetables
as grocery stores provided little truly fresh,
and farmers markets had not yet caught on
in a time before they widened the highway
and a half-hour commute into town transformed
our lakeside village into a bedroom community;

Every year out of thirty-four, that same plot
heaved up rocks and boulders of every size,
thus before cultivating and yielding those
delectable edibles, one really had to harvest
rocks and more rocks, while piles lined
perimeters to be carried closer to the house
to ring flower gardens or delimit pathways,
or to place on an animal’s grave to prevent
hungry intruders from dislodging rotting
remains;

Nothing and everything changes, routines
may remain, yet nature demonstrates
with each passing season the modicum
of knowledge humans might grasp about
the ground under our feet, so busy are we
jumping into metal boxes and flying
at breakneck speed to obtain life’s
necessities, while stones, ever patient,
mark the ages with a persistence
and perseverance all their own.

Pololu pohaku
Pololu Valley pohaku
Pololu beach rocks
Goose Pond, ME granite shoreline – C Johnson
Goose Pond forest boulder – C Johnson (photo with Vernon Emeliano)
Goose Pond fairy boulder – C Johnson

Seasonal

And summer has arrived;
just like that, torrential rains
cease, a blazing sun streams down
to the great relief of pineapples
aching to convert starch to sugar,
sweeten and lighten their load,
prickly customers snapped free
from bending stalks;

Giant papayas ripen before the eyes,
bottoms waxing golden signalling
time to gather up before Mejiros’
delicate beaks tap in to suck
the sweet nectar, breaking way
for fruit fly infestation;

Pamplemousse hang heavy on boughs
only recently pruned, year-round
providers if one can wait long
enough after picking for ripening
before yielding up the sweetest
of citrus delights;

The entire yard exudes varieties
of gardenia; Paklan, clove and shower
trees rounding out an olfactory palate
with lavender, oregano and rosemary
undertones, stroll by scented Ixora,
banana shrub, citrus blossoms popping
in a garden of earthly delights;

Meanwhile off we trudge, dogs
in tow, down into Pololu Valley, end
of the road under ten minutes from
our gates, steep bony trail descending
into Ironwoods flanking black lava rock
and sand beach, flowing runoff stream
meandering from lush verdant forest
into boundless turquoise sea.
“Common Gardenia,” which is anything but!

Pink Shower Tree blossomingScented Ixora

Tropical delights: pineapple and a ripening Pamplemousse
We don’t have hummingbirds here, but the tiny Mejiro is a nectar feeder

No papaya under nine inches today!

The incomparable Pololu

~ all photos ©Bela Johnson

Quietude

There’s a sound in the house,
a resonant thrum in the house
we reside in, the home we created,
a throb, a buzz, a tone which,
when absent, defines utter silence;
the nothingness present during times
when power lines cease their humming,
now the only competition with birdsong;

Refrigerator madness, the distant
din of day traffic, groan and gurgle
of water coursing through pipes,
of a neighbor’s television droning
at daybreak when sunshine floods
an azure sky, stretching golden rays
of warmth, light and brilliance;

The rubber band whine of small planes
flying over expansive fields, cascading
waterfalls that cleave lush verdant hills
in two, breasts of our mother, the earth;
contrasting with ropes of ebony lava
and gushing fire erupting on the
island’s furthest shore.

all photos ©Bela Johnson